Working with Annotations

In order to help you find sources and use them, you will annotate your four most promising peer-reviewed sources over the next few weeks. These annotations are meant to document and assist your own research progress. They are annotations meant to be used, by you. One will be due each week, from weeks 7 through 10.

Your annotations should reflect your familiarity with the sources. Not simply passing familiarity, but true engagement. You really need to have read and digested them. For the first few weeks especially, I recommend that you work with articles or chapters rather than entire books.

Each annotation should begin with the complete MLA citation, followed by a note about the physical or digital location where you found the source, and quick account of what led you to the source (what database or bibliography you used, what keywords or subject headings, etc.).

After this introductory information begins the actual annotation, which should be between 200-400 words and composed in paragraph form. Use the questions below to help you structure each annotation. You might not be able to answer all of these questions for every source, but considering them should help you begin to assess the usefulness of each source and to focus on your own argument. We will expect you to be able to answer these questions with increasing specificity over the course of the semester.

  • What is the main question the author answers?
  • What is the answer? (What’s the claim?)
  • What kinds of evidence or argumentation does the author use in support of the claim? (This is a very important question: be sure that you know and can articulate what data the source bases his or her claims on, and how that data was collected.)
  • How does the author relate his or her claim(s) and argument(s) to other perspectives? Put another way, what is the “they say” statement the author is responding to?
  • What is your response to the article’s argument? Do you find it persuasive, unpersuasive, interesting, uninteresting? Explain your response.
  • How does the text relate to others you have read?
  • How does the writer’s question relate to the question you are pursuing in your research?
  • What are the similarities and differences between the main claim you are making and the claim made by your source?
  • What leads does this source give you? These leads might be other sources to follow-up on, or other perspectives to consider.

The first annotation is due Thursday, October 14, and one will be due each Thursday after that for the subsequent three weeks. Your work on these annotations will add up to 10% of your final grade for HNRS 110.